One of the greatest flaws in modern democratic and republican societies is the lack of a true and genuine aristocracy. While aristocracy has been much maligned since the rise of the revolutionary spirit engendered by the Enlightenment (and exemplified in the American and French revolutions), historically the rule of the best has been one of the anchors of stable and successful civil and moral society. The replacement of aristocracy by popular, democratically-oriented regimes is one of the long-term causes of the inverted and dissociative trends which have become the norm in nearly all Western cultures.
One the most basic things that anyone who hopes to have a rational view of human civilisation must understand is that hierarchy is the natural state of affairs within human society. In practice, there is no human society which has not had some form of social hierarchy, however “primitive.” Even though many ancient societies were not organised into the rigid and distinct castes into which many traditional Indo-European groups were, either in tripartite (priest-warrior-commoner) or quadripartite (brahman-kshatriya-vaishya-sudra) form, virtually every society which humanity has ever produced within the past 6-10,000 years has had some form of hierarchy. Even systems (such as communism) which seek in theory to destroy hierarchy end up in practice simply reinstituting a new system of hierarchy to replace the old.
Since hierarchy is natural in human society, the obvious corollary is that aristocracy is also natural and right (when genuinely aristocratic men occupy the apex of their nations). There must and will always be a class within any society which makes up the “top men.” This is true even within liberal and democratic regimes, though the bases for the elevation of the leaders in such societies generally are not truly “aristocratic,” but are based on retrograde and degenerate reasons such as mere wealth, technocratic skill, or political subterfuge. In more Traditional and well-ordered societies, the leadership caste is made up of warriors and regality, those who inherently possess superior traits through blood and spirit, and who subsequently apply themselves toward developing those traits through religion, service to the king and nation, and the perfection of their minds.
Yet, historical observation shows that even genuine aristocracies can, and often do, lapse into decadence and degeneracy. One of the most ready examples is that of the Roman patriciate, which was corrupted by the luxurious fruits of the East. Horace lamented the decline of Roman society, and especially the quality of her aristocrats, thusly,
“It was not a youth born from parents like these, that stained the sea with Carthaginian gore, and slew Pyrrhus, and mighty Antiochus, and terrific Hannibal; but a manly progeny of rustic soldiers, instructed to turn the glebe with Sabine spades, and to carry clubs cut out of the woods at the pleasure of a rigid mother, what time the sun shifted the shadows of the mountains, and took the yokes from the wearied oxen, bringing on the pleasant hour with his retreating chariot. What does not wasting time destroy? The age of our fathers, worse than our grandsires, produced us still more flagitious, us, who are about to product am offspring more vicious even than ourselves.” (Odes, Book III, Ode VI)
Sadly, the decline of robust aristocracy can occur relatively quickly if the causes are not vigourly curbed – a mere two generations separated Charlemagne from Charles the Fat, from a man who would have crushed the Vikings in war to a man whose downfall came as he sought to buy them off once again.
However, this tendency on the part of aristocracies (but especially long-established ones) to decay is not an argument against the principle of aristocracy. It is merely an argument for the recognition of the tendency of all things relating to mankind toward entropification, and hence, the need for the application of external energy to reorder and reinvigourate the system. Aristocratic systems are not – and should not be – systems whose constitutive components are unalterable, though the principles and essence of aristocracy must remain so. This is achieved through the institution of what the Romans called the novus homo, the “new man.”
On what basis might the entry of a novus homo be made into the aristocratic class? How might someone become a “new man”?
Let us begin by noting that what is often seen today toward this end in the vestigial aristocratic systems of Old Europe very rarely represents the genuine elevation of a worthy soul. We have seen nations retaining aristocratic traditions (such as the United Kingdom) confer knighthood upon the most unworthy of individuals – the grossly immoral entertainer, the petty producer of popular literature, the technician who successfully tinkers in his laboratory or workshop. Certainly we must admit that the conferring of noble titles has itself suffered much degeneracy in these aristocratic bodies under the debilitating influence of popular government and the rise of “the mass man.” Certainly, the vast majority of those upon whom titles of nobility have been conferred in recent years were not truly deserving of them, and do not represent the sort of person who qualifies as a natural aristocrat whose inhering qualities would be recognised through such an elevation.
Not only are the inner qualities of most of these inadequate, but so are the reasons for their spurious elevations. Simply being good at a technical or artistic skill does not a genuine aristocrat make. This is why all of the talk within democratic circles of a “new scientific elite” or a “new technocratic elite” are ridiculous babblings. A peasant who is very good at making machines, but who is otherwise completely unremarkable, is still just a peasant.
Yet, there really are bona fide ways in which the qualities of spirit and blood which inhere within a worthy individual may be recognised, thus allowing them to be brought into the aristocratic class and who may then serve to reinvigourate what may be a decaying body within a nation and civilisation. For a man to be recognised as one who deserves to be a novus homo and to qualify as a recognised member of that aristocratic “race of the blood,” he must demonstrate the possession of qualities pertaining to a natural aristocrat who seeks to perfect his already exemplary qualities of spirit, soul, and body.
There are two generally obvious and most common ways in which this may happen. The first is through the possession and exercise of martial prowess, carrying with it all of the qualities necessary – courage, a disregard for comfort and luxury, skill, discretion and wisdom, and so forth. A man displaying these and performing remarkable feats upon the field of battle would often find himself rewarded with the recognition of his superior qualities. This may occur during warfare taking place within established kingdoms or other political states. The fruits of victory deriving from superior blood and superior qualities can then be passed on to succeeding generation. I think of the example of the English lord who complained about the induction into the House of Lord of men whose only “qualification” for lordship was wealth and the ability to buy land under England’s capitalistic system. When asked how his ancestors came to receive lordship, he answered, “With the battle axe, Sir, with the battle axe!” They had been part of William’s retinue when he crossed over and conquered England in 1066.
Granted, this route seems to be stifled in today’s democratic nations with their democratic and technocratic armies. Lacking functional aristocracies (or even, on many cases, any kind of aristocracy at all), they also lack the means by which men may demonstrate noteworthy martial prowess, courage, and initiative, nor to elevate such men anywise beyond recipiency of some metallic trinket to pin on their uniforms. Yet, while this route toward becoming a novus homo may not seem very relevant today, one never knows what the future holds. If the present system proves to be unsustainable in the long term (as it almost certainly will), and the Great Reset proves to be more sanguinary than we hope it will be, there may very well be opportunity for superior enterprising men to carve out (pun intended) a name and a place for themselves in a true aristocracy arising from the ashes of democratic failure.
However, within genuine aristocracies, another means of entry as a novus homo would involve superlative service to the sovereign and to the nation above and beyond that which the average man may provide. This, indeed, was the basis for Cicero’s acceptance into the senatorial class and patriciate of his day. His early services in rhetoric and even in politics in defence of Rome’s aristocratic republic against the inroads of popular and plebeian demagogues eventually brought him to the consulship. Sadly, by the time Cicero’s life ended, the aristocracy as a governing force in Rome had ended as well. However, Cicero was not the first new man to be elevated to the senatorial class. This principle operated in Roman society as far back as the elevation of Lucius Volumnius Flamma Violens in 307 BC, however uncommon it may have been in practice.
However, this point touches upon the responsibility of aristocracy (as well, also, the kingship), which is not to rule the people for self-aggrandisement or pleasure, but to protect them as fathers would their children and to guide them into what is virtuous and good. The people do not need a voice in government. Indeed, when the masses of the people have such a voice, the inevitable end is ochlocracy, proving itself always to be disaggregative, chaotic, and destructive. Instead, the people ought to rely upon their king and their nobles to guide the nation and to protect and support its people. In a sense aristocracy, far from being a cause for arrogance or oppression, makes the superior man the servant of all as his responsibility for their preservation weighs the more heavily upon him, a principle completely in line with that of Christ when He expounded this principle to His disciples,
“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
For neoreactionaries, a guiding principle is “become worthy, accept power, rule.” As such, and if they are really serious about this principle, then in practice for most this will involve following the path of the novus homo. If we ever do see the replacement of the current morass of democracy, socialism, liberalism, plutocracy, and monergocapitalism with a return to the older aristocratic ways, this will be the time when that guiding principle can be put into practice. A new order will require a new aristocratic class of genuinely superior men to fill the vacuum left by the old. Whether through war and instability or through a more peaceful transition, the rise of the novi homines in the future will require enterprising men to seize opportunities and exercising their inborn traits of natural aristocracy. At that point, the aristocrats will be separated from the common man and will form a renovated “race of the blood.”